The Bookshelf – The Perfect Mile

The Perfect Mile CoverBy Monty Hagler

(Part of a a continuing series on the books that made the journey to our new office.)

Let’s start with the fact that I’m a swimmer, not a runner. I’m not even fond of walking. So many people are surprised to see The Perfect Mile in my office. This book by Neal Bascomb recounts how the English runner Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute-mile barrier at a track meet on May 6, 1954.

While the task at hand was on the athletic field, I’ve drawn multiple lessons from the story of this historic accomplishment:

If you’re stuck, change your routine

Bannister was a great runner for many years, but he and every other runner chasing the 4-minute-mile kept coming up short. Under the guidance and workout routines of a new coach, Bannister adopted different training techniques that allowed him to build up both his stamina and his speed.

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How to lose clients and kill your reputation

By David French

My spouse and I traveled recently to the British Virgin Islands. After we returned, I wrote TripAdvisor reviews of several restaurants we visited. All the reviews were brief and favorable, except for this one:useful vegetables lie on a plate

We were so looking forward to a wonderful dinner in one of the most spectacular settings on the West End. Food was simply OK for the price, and service was terrible. Entrees arrived +45 minutes after we ordered, and several tables who were seated after us were served and finished before we ever got our food.

And the restaurant owner’s response:

You are on holiday. It’s evening. It’s beautiful weather and a ” spectacular setting. ” Why can’t you spend an hour having dinner? Are you really that important? International calls flowing in requiring your attention? Big deals brewing?

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Spring Intern Spotlight: Wesley Gray Smith

Wesley and office dogsThe best way to learn many skills is not through a classroom or a lecture, but through hands-on experience. That’s why we feel it is so important that our interns get to the opportunity to try as many facets of life in a PR firm as possible, whether its helping to research costs for a new campaign idea, drafting news releases or participating in our social activities.

This spring, we have two interns working with us. This week, we introduce you to Wesley Gray Smith.

“I am a senior public relations and history major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I’m originally from Shelby, North Carolina. It’s a small town famous for bluegrass and delicious BBQ.”

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The Bookshelf – Atlas Shrugged

img_5310By Monty Hagler

(Part of a continuing series on the books that made the journey to our new office.)

“Who is John Galt?”

I find that people either immediately know the opening sentence to Atlas Shrugged or have no idea why it would take nearly 1,100 pages to answer that question.

In the summer of 1986, I had plenty of free time for reading. I was lifeguarding and coaching a swim team, and the smart people I knew (like John and David Hood) kept referring to Ayn Rand’s Objectivism philosophy. I dove in, and Atlas Shrugged still sits on my office bookcase 30 years later.

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The Bookshelf – Undaunted Courage

By Monty Hagler

(Part of a continuing series on the books that made the journey to RLF’s new office space)

My father gave me a copy of Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose in 1996. The book focuses on the Lewis & Clark expedition to explore the American West and bring back a weimg_5299alth of knowledge that transformed our country and confirmed the incredible value of Thomas Jefferson’s deal for the Louisiana Purchase.

Ambrose captures how difficult the task was in 1803 as the expedition had to overcome numerous obstacles. Malaria. Leaking canoes. Hostile Indian tribes. Unnavigable rivers. Paralyzing cold. Grizzly bears. Lost supplies. But nothing could stop the small, determined Corp of Discovery. They pushed forward. Took notes on botany, geography, ethnology and zoology. Filled journals with observations on weather, rocks and people. Discovered and described 178 new plants and 122 species and sub-species of animals. Drew maps and recorded the most direct, convenient route across the continent.

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The Bookshelf – The World Is Flat

img_5284By Monty Hagler

(Part of a continuing series on the books that made the journey to RLF’s new office space)

Think of The World Is Flat as business science fiction, circa 2005. Many of the concepts author Thomas Friedman chronicles were still in their emerging phases – the ease in which anyone could outsource research work to India, the blinding speed of digital communication connections, the seamless process of pulling into a McDonalds drive-thru and having your order taken by someone a thousand miles away.

If I recall correctly, I read The World Is Flat about the same time I got my first mobile phone with a camera that allowed you to easily snap a picture and then email it. I don’t believe texting and instant messaging from the phone were options, but on my laptop there was this new tool called Google to look up things without a staff of researchers and assistants tracking down information. And as someone who is paid to look things up and track things down, it was a wake-up call that I’d better up my game.

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The Bookshelf – When Words Lose Their Meaning

By Monty Hagler

As RLF packed up the office space we occupied for nine years, I faced difficult choices on what to keep, give away, recycle or trash. That is particularly true when it comes to books. I’m old-school print, with hundreds of books in the office and thousands on the shelves at home. Sinceimg_5279 childhood, literature has fueled wonder, discovery, laughter, suspense, adventure and knowledge in my life. It’s easy to gather, much harder to discard.

When the dust settled, 20 books made the move to the new office. This Orange Slices post marks the first in a series about each book that opened my eyes to a broader world or taught me lessons that still resonate. I don’t distinguish between reading for pleasure or business, but I do follow a cardinal rule to put a book down if I’m not enjoying it or finding value from it in the first 35 pages.

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